I’ve been busy this week with activism (and class prep and research, but lots of activism). I’ve been calling and talking and doing my best to protect the affordable care act. Don’t let anybody tell you that your calls don’t matter. THEY MATTER. If you’re in a blue state, your representatives want your calls and letters and emails. This information helps bolster their claims about what their constituents want and really care about. So don’t think, well I know my reps are in favor of this so I don’t need to call. Call. Leave a message, or talk briefly with a staffer. Email or fax if you can’t call. If you’re in a red or purple state, your calls and faxes really matter. I have been amazed how my senators’ staffers message has changed just over the course of two weeks from of course we will repeal immediately without replacing to… well, people will still have the ACA for 2 years. Similarly on getting in ethics reviews before hearings. We are pushing that dial and we can keep pushing it. Bad legislation is still going to get passed. People are still going to die, but if we are vocal and continue being vocal, we will drown out some of the voices of evil (I’ve recently started believing evil exists again). Bad legislation will be passed, but it will be less bad than the legislation that would have been passed without our efforts. Let them know we’re watching. Keep them accountable. We are saving lives.
My local legislators are undecided on a couple of extremely vile bills coming through the pipeline. That means that they’re waiting to hear which direction their vocal constituents are leaning. Be those vocal constituents. (Today one staffer told me she agreed with me, but the legislator had not talked with staff about his view yet. She hoped he voted no. The staffer for my other guy ended saying he was excited to pass along my thoughts and my argument. They’re both against evil too. But they need our voices to add to theirs.)
And if you don’t want to make calls, don’t tell people calls don’t matter. That’s the same mistake anti-vaxxers make– if you truly believe that you don’t want your kid vaccinated, you should want everyone else to vaccinate their kids in order to keep your kid safe. Instead, do what you can (which hopefully is faxing or letter writing or emailing or limiting to 15 min per week of activism or whatever it is you are doing to protect your time and sanity) and praise the person who is trying to get you to pick up the phone for what they’re doing on your behalf. People will understand that you need to get tenure or you’re dealing with grief or your children need your attention but you’re doing what you can. And you know, three years ago, your lone voice might not have mattered. But that’s the thing. With the Trump presidency, people like me who only vaguely knew the names of their representative or that other senator are making phone calls *every single day*. People like my sister are calling AND are organizing local groups to meet each other and talk to each other and get things done. People like wandsci are keeping us aware of what is going on via social media and are calling too. That means your voice isn’t the only voice. It’s one of many, but of a small enough of many that your voice still matters. You need to keep calling because your voice amplifies other people’s voices. And there are enough other people’s voices that we can get change. Your voice can be that voice that causes more change. Even if it’s just 15 min a week.
How to best use your activism time?
If you have a lot of energy, get with other groups and help them organize. Figure out what issues to address and how to address them. Then get the message out. However, most of us have jobs that make doing all of that difficult. (DH and I are mostly lending support on this front, though we are trying to find a group to be active with!)
If you only have a little time or a little mental energy, do one of two things.
1. Check in your area to see if there’s an indivisible group in your state that is organized enough to have a mailing list or online webpage of weekly items. This is ideal for you because they will be covering state and local issues as well, and your voice has a lot more power, even if you’re gerrymandered, on state and local issues. And, of course, state and local affects federal. There may not be one in your city, but check the biggest city in your state and the most liberal city in your state to see what their indivisible group is up to. You may also have an indivisible group in your district. Many of these smaller groups are going to die from disuse, some will merge, etc. But if they’re giving action items each week you’re golden.
2. If 1 isn’t working out for you or if you want a sure thing, go to our activism tab and pick one of the (now 5) different list-serves of action items. My favorites are still Actions for Americans and Wall of Us, but they all have their own styles and you may prefer a different one. After having done that, pick which 15 min you’re going to use to do phone calls (Moral Mondays are a good time) and do their items using their scripts each week. If you don’t want to talk to a staffer, do it after hours and leave messages. If you want to make the most impact use a more combative script if your representative is making a bad decision. If you have extreme phone phobia, fax instead. Get that box checked and if you have more energy, make some noise while doing it. Most of us will probably have brief and polite conversations where we read off a script and the staffer says “Thank you I will pass that along”.
Next weekend I’m going to the women’s march in the city near me. Is there one in a city near you? If so, there may be bus transportation. Several of our local churches have buses and our local dems office does as well. If you call, you may be able to reserve a slot. Men are included too– my whole family will be going, even though the shirts I got for the DCs are too big.
And now for some links.
If you’re calling and the vm box is always full and you can’t get through to a person, tell David Yankovich. Stonewalling is illegal and he’s doing a story on it. In retrospect, I suspect this is why one of my senators’ aides kept me on the phone for 30 min the other morning. (Note: You do not get the 30 min response unless you’re combative with them which I was because they were spreading falsehoods about the ACA– so don’t let that keep you from calling and voicing your opinion!)
You can call the leader of a senate committee even if you’re not a constituent in that senator’s state.
Breitbart alumni are creating a pro-fascist group.
There’s a lot of Republican hypocrisy on Obamacare. Also, one of my senator’s current lines is that the ACA shouldn’t have been passed without GOP votes. I told one staffer who tried to push this harder that made total sense and that the Republicans should stop voting on partisan legislation RIGHT NOW. If they can’t get full democratic buy-in, then they shouldn’t be passing any laws. He was a political science major and I’m a lowly economist so I deferred to him on that one.
My senator’s staffer told me that hospitals are closing because of the Affordable Care Act. That’s not true. And more rural hospitals will close if the ACA goes away. The only part that’s true is the effect of decreases in Medicare payments which were put in mostly in an attempt to get the GOP on board with the ACA.
Similarly, why did insurers withdraw from state marketplaces? Because the GOP did things to get that outcome. GOP who support these things care about politics over people. They’re willing to let people die in order to gain political power. And one wonders why I’m beginning to believe that evil exists.
What health policy experts think of Lamar Alexander’s plan for O’Care transition. The answer may not surprise you.
A TX congressman calls for silencing of the press. Let’s vote out the fascists. I want to see primary challenges in Red districts. Republicans against fascism!
Map of Trump’s Russian Connections.
Trump national security pick is a serial plagiarist. (The linked story is an early one from this week, later stories find her dissertation and other articles.)
Trump has more debt than expected. Breathtaking conflicts of interest.
What it’s like to be at the center of a fake news conspiracy.
Trump vs. Plato. Indeed, this seems to be the strategy of one of my senators’ offices. They tell me so many lies when I call (and when DH calls and so on).
When smart people get politically active you end up with something like this.
Do they want us to get into a war with China?
Mystery dot for twitter
Obama successes in tweetstorm form.
Gigzig is a fun way to come up with career path possibilities.
We have a potty tag. If you have small children and are interested in the science of potty-ing. Or just reading potty jokes.